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What say ye.... Coker or Diamond Back Classics???? Preferences, experiences, etc. Leaning toward Radials.20171001_162753.jpg.708ba671f202b375b0e349cb58b6a6fa.jpg

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If you don't get a real good deal from Coker, use Diamondback.  But, I wouldn't buy any tires until you have this car about finished and ready for the road.

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I have Cokers bias on my 60 and Universal bias on my 54.    Depends on what your are looking for, appearance, ride or longevity of the tire.  For me I wanted a the period correct look with the bias ply ride for the experience.  Also, as little as I drive my Buicks I could not justify the cost of radials over bias.   Anyway, the Cokers and Universal bias tires I run both perform as expected for a bias.  Both provide the look and bias experience I wanted. 

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That car is a long way from needing tires. Buy them last because tires have a finite life span even if they're never used. They may look fine but the rubber degrades from the inside out just from being exposed to air and sunlight. 

 

When you do need tires and if you want radials, I prefer Diamondback for just this reason. Coker tires often sit in their warehouse for years before they're sold, so even brand new tires already have a ticking clock. Diamondback uses brand new tires and installs a whitewall on them when you order them. They don't keep many tires on the shelf.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

That car is a long way from needing tires. Buy them last because tires have a finite life span even if they're never used. They may look fine but the rubber degrades from the inside out just from being exposed to air and sunlight. 

 

When you do need tires and if you want radials, I prefer Diamondback for just this reason. Coker tires often sit in their warehouse for years before they're sold, so even brand new tires already have a ticking clock. Diamondback uses brand new tires and installs a whitewall on them when you order them. They don't keep many tires on the shelf.

 

https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2010/02/16/tread-carefully-with-older-tires

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The part where the Coker exec is talking about how tires have no real expiration date reminds me of the film Thank You For Smoking. 

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Depending on how and how much you drive, bias ply will last 15+ years but only 15,000 miles; radials will (in hot south central Texas) last 5 years and up to 60,000 miles.

Remember when you wore out a set of bias plys they could be recapped or put on your utility trailer and stay there until ruined or for another 15 years before they rotted.

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I wouldn't get too wound up about date codes. Most tire failures are due to underinflation. That issue aside, Diamondbacks are tubeless tires that you could run as tube-type if absolutely necessary. If I am not mistaken Coker Classic Radials are tube-type tires. That alone would make the decision in favor of Diamondback if it were my money.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, Bloo said:

I wouldn't get too wound up about date codes. Most tire failures are due to underinflation. That issue aside, Diamondbacks are tubeless tires that you could run as tube-type if absolutely necessary. If I am not mistaken Coker Classic Radials are tube-type tires. That alone would make the decision in favor of Diamondback if it were my money.

You need to Google "Dangers with old tires" and get current on what happens to rubber as it sets.  How good is that old Pink Pearl eraser you had some time ago?  It's never been exposed to UV rays, overinflation, under inflation, or 60,000  miles of wear, but you try to use it and it just crumbles.  Same with tires. Lots of sage advice printed above.  The only thing over / under inflation has to do with wear is over inflation wears out the center of the tread and under inflation wears out the edges.  

 

But the safety of your family is on your shoulder (tires.)

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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As for "tire age", in another thread several years ago, it was mentioned that BFG would not warranty any tire that was over 6 years old, even if had spent its whole life in a warehouse waiting to be sold.  THAT should be an indication of a "shelf life issue".

 

Internal dry rot happens, even if the tread looks fine and deep on the outside.  That will cause things to delaminate internally and "separation happens".  First with a vibration and then "flying rubber" that has a LOT of momentum in it (at highway speed!) and will damage anything it hits (including car body sheet metal).

 

In the '70s, a local Exxon service station guy had an Exxon "land man" who came by every so often for service and such.  The Exxon guy cam in one day to see about tires.  Seems the Exxon safety people wanted the tires replaced every 30K miles, no matter what.  So as they were paying the bill, it got done.  The service station guy got a set of good used tires to sell.

 

In February, I bought a 2005 LeSabre Limited off of our used car lot.  It currently has a set of Sears Michelin Weatherwise tires on it.  I backed it out of the building and gave it a good look-over.  The tires looked good, but I felt a little tire harshness on the way to the farm.  I checked the date code ant it was "0308", which meant they were 10 years old.  I called the local Michelin dealer to see about tires for it.  I told him about the date code and his reply was "Get those things off before they come apart!"  I laughed and said that's what I was going to do.

 

When I got my 2005 Impala, it has a set of 7 year old Hankooks on it.  They looked fine and drove as good as expected.  Then, one night, I had to dodge a deer, braking and turning at the same time.  A week or so later, a mild front end vibration started, then got worse as time progressed.  Steering wheel vibrated, so that told me it was in a front tire.  So, I bit the bullet hard for a set of Primacy MXV4s . . . that was about 100K miles ago.

 

In getting any kind of repro tire, it seems the price is near $200.00/tire or more, bias ply or repro radial.  Best to use "normal" tires when possible.

 

NTX5467

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Now, on the other hand, I well-remember how used tires were saved for farm equipment (grain drills and such) and lasted until they either wouldn't hold air (from letting them sit with flat tires) or the cords were showing through.  They lasted long past 6 years.  But on a road vehicle, they might get 20K miles of use with decent wear.  That would have been about 2 years of normal driving, back then.  Depending upon the vehicle and how it wore tires AND how the tires were maintained, 40K miles on quality bias plies WAS possible, but not usually on GM cars, by observation.  Only thing was that as the tires wore down into the lower levels of rubber, they'd wear more quickly than suspected past a certain point.

 

Anything with "oil" in the base formulation will have a "shelf life" issue.  Tires, door weatherstrip, etc.  And that happens even if they are in a plastic bag!

 

NTX5467

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49 minutes ago, RivNut said:

You need to Google "Dangers with old tires" and get current on what happens to rubber as it sets.  How good is that old Pink Pearl eraser you had some time ago?  It's never been exposed to UV rays, overinflation, under inflation, or 60,000  miles of wear, but you try to use it and it just crumbles.  Same with tires. Lots of sage advice printed above.  The only thing over / under inflation has to do with wear is over inflation wears out the center of the tread and under inflation wears out the edges.  

 

But the safety of your family is on your shoulder (tires.)

 

I am not suggesting that all old tires are good. Tires rot at different speeds, depending on what they were made of in the first place, and how they have been stored, among other things. Back in the day we used to inspect them and replace if there were signs of checking, or they were just known to be too old. Then, as now almost all failures were due to underinflation and overloading. Those 2 things are one and the same if you think about how the load ratings work. 

 

Lately, there seems to be this idea that you need to replace all tires every 6 years, no matter what, and you will be "safe". Some give themselves an "exception" for bias ply tires. I doubt the tire store will see it that way when it comes time to get a flat repaired.

 

When I was young, I worked in gas stations in an area where it gets hot in the summer, really hot. Tires that ran low on pressure often got so hot they came apart violently. In August, I got to see this all day long. Low pressure lets the sidewall flex more, and sidewall flex creates heat. Heat causes catastrophic failure. Bias ply tires, though the minority by that time did an overwhelming majority of the exploding. It isn't surprising, because they flex more, and that creates more heat. Inner tubes, when present, make heat buildup even worse.

 

The reality is if you had a tire come apart, it was probably low on air. This has always been true, and isn't likely to change. TPMS systems may actually do some good. reading date codes, not so much.

 

 

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I am running BF Goodrich Radial WhiteWalls on my 1955 Roadmaster Riviera- I love them !  Usually you can get a shipping deal on set of 4 via ebay.

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11 hours ago, Bloo said:

 

I am not suggesting that all old tires are good. Tires rot at different speeds, depending on what they were made of in the first place, and how they have been stored, among other things. Back in the day we used to inspect them and replace if there were signs of checking, or they were just known to be too old. Then, as now almost all failures were due to underinflation and overloading. Those 2 things are one and the same if you think about how the load ratings work. 

 

Lately, there seems to be this idea that you need to replace all tires every 6 years, no matter what, and you will be "safe". Some give themselves an "exception" for bias ply tires. I doubt the tire store will see it that way when it comes time to get a flat repaired.

 

When I was young, I worked in gas stations in an area where it gets hot in the summer, really hot. Tires that ran low on pressure often got so hot they came apart violently. In August, I got to see this all day long. Low pressure lets the sidewall flex more, and sidewall flex creates heat. Heat causes catastrophic failure. Bias ply tires, though the minority by that time did an overwhelming majority of the exploding. It isn't surprising, because they flex more, and that creates more heat. Inner tubes, when present, make heat buildup even worse.

 

The reality is if you had a tire come apart, it was probably low on air. This has always been true, and isn't likely to change. TPMS systems may actually do some good. reading date codes, not so much.

 

 

 

Concur with a lot of what is written here.  Of the 11 years I was with Goodyear, a majority of tire failure was due to under inflation with lack of owner checking and or  picking up a nail/screw allowing the tire to slowly leak when traveling and eminent failure.   Most if not all drivers do not detect a low radial tire.  Most times even riding the rim with no air  until the sidewall is destroyed.   As stated here, TPMS systems are a huge help in preventing tire failure.  Unless of course for those that ignore the low pressure light and continue to drive.  Many do.   Then you have the over inflated that also cause belt slipping and deforming the tire(sometimes tread loss).   My brother in law stated he needed new shocks for his Pontiac that had only 4000 miles on it.  I asked why did he believe this to be.  He said the ride was rough.  I checked his air pressure.  He inflated to 50 pounds each.   He simply did not know.          

 

Concerning bias ply of old,  rubber technology has changed over the years. Synthetic rubber compounds introduced after WW2  .    Internal material used has changed over the years.  Bias ply material.  Bead material.  These materials have a good life span.  

    

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Bias ply tires are much easier to SEE underinflation on than radials, typically.  Underinflation in and of itself, might not cause a tire failure in all cases, as the lower-inflated tire will flex more and that heat will increase the inflation pressure in the tire, to a certain extent.  I've seen that happen a few times, back then.

 

Even if the tire is inflated properly (for the load carried) and the vehicle is overloaded, then that "max recommended inflation pressure" can be come "underinflated", in effect.  If the tire is overloaded at max inflation pressure, the chunks of tread that "leave" will have a different (smoother) edge than otherwise, as I recall.  High speeds and overloading are a sure recipe for a tire failure.

 

The tire failures I've experienced on "old tires" were from the tires coming apart internally due to sudden evasive maneuvers I've had to make (dodging "trouble issues").  Even when properly inflated and not at higher speeds.  They would have been fine driving in normal issues, but that sudden combination of forces put too much stress on deteriorated internal components of the tires.

 

To me, I know that when times were tougher, we seemed to get longer service intervals from many items.  Maybe because we had to?  That new replacement just couldn't fit into the family budget, either.  But in a more affluent situation, you go ahead and do the replacement for many reasons.

 

Still, though, if BFG and others won't warranty a tire over 6 years old, that's some very important orientations.  Certainly, they aren't built like they used to be.

 

NTX5467

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Good debate, lots of good points well made.

 

Aren't built like they used to be covers a wide swath. Take engines. Now you can get, in a stock passenger vehicle, an engine that is 2+ HP/cu in that will last 200000+ miles. I have one of these in my MKX. Of course this is due to better materials, better design, better manufacturing where every engine is essentially blueprinted, etc. Back when I was a callow youth a 1+ HP/cu in like the old Chev 409 would need a total rebuild in the vicinity of 50k miles. So we have come a long way there.

 

But simpler things like refrigerators have gone backwards. A good fridge might last 10+ years today if you are lucky. But my beer fridge in the basement is a 65 year old Kelvinator that still runs fine. C'est la guerre...

 

Cheers, Dave

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Good debate for sure, Thanks for all the comments. It would appear that the majority of those who offered a preference went with Diamond Back..... Which was my initial choice as well. Back in the day I ran what I could afford on my '56 Bel Air...... mostly recaps!!!!! Never had any problems but most of my driving then was local, to school, to work, not a lot of Interstate driving..... now that I think about it, not a lot of interstates! My only bad experience was in 1971 with a new set of BFG Radials on my '64 Valiant, I -70 between Denver and KC, Tread Separated, put spare on and limped to the next exit, found one of the other three ready to self destruct!!!!! These tires were less than a year old, probably less than 2,000 miles, BFG graciously pro-rated them, I'm hoping Diamond Back offers a choice of tires to be White Walled!!!

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… I could be wrong but didn't we read somewhere on one of the 500 or so posts regarding tires that diamond basically glues whites onto their new black cores to create the white wall as opposed to having it cast molded from new as coker does or something to that effect which be why they have a so-called fresh source of tires as opposed to the claim the coker tires are shelf stored aging stock original molded white walls ….  perhaps someone could venture a learned opinion regarding that claim …. and if true how does the white walls themselves stand up to time and travel comparatively on both diamond and coker …. ?

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Here is the "process" as described by Diamondback tires.  It not glued on per se but vulcanized to the tire.

 

Tire Making Process

 

Interested in our tire making process? Great! There are really two ways to make a white wall radial tire. You can do it while you’re actually making the tire or you can add the white wall to a finished tire as a final step. Remember, white rubber is just ornamental and has nothing to do with strength or performance. The advantage to adding it after the tire is made is that you can put a whitewall or color stripe on any tire you want, including 17″, 18″ and 20″ tires — and with much tighter quality control. The versatility is endless and tires are all current production. This is how we do it at Diamond Back. We’re simply the “final step”.

We start by mounting the new tire on a special machine that spins it at high speed. Using our own attachments, we rough up the sidewall surface so it is no longer perfectly smooth. Because of the accuracy of our preparatory machine, and because it turns at such a high RPM, any abnormalities of the tire can be spotted immediately. Because we use major manufacturers our rejection rate is near zero.

An entire section of our plant is devoted to the vulcanization equipment that makes the white wall a permanent part of the tire. Because the vulcanization process is so effective, if you tried to separate the white wall from the tire afterward, the tire itself would become damaged. It’s a marriage that lasts forever…a very permanent bond. So if you forget everything else, just remember that once the white wall is vulcanized to the tire, it’s on there forever (just try pulling one off the tire sometime).

After vulcanization, the material has to be trimmed to the exact desired width, depending on what you order. Whether it be a 3 ¾” white wall for a ’58 Cadillac, or a 3/8” redline for a ’65 Corvette it makes no difference. The fronts and rears can be matched in white wall width even if your tires are different sizes (as with hot rod big & little combinations). That’s the nice part about trimming each white wall or redline to order. We can also ensure that whitewalls widths are proportionately correct front and rear. For example – a smaller front tire will have the same percentage of white wall on the sidewall as a larger rear tire, and even though the front and rear whitewalls will be of different widths, they remain proportionately correct and aesthetically pleasing to all admirers of your ride!

All of our finishers are equipped with laser guides so that all widths are held to close tolerances. Once the trimming is complete, a series of finishing steps in the final process makes them nice and smooth.

Another advantage to high speed finishing is that it immediately shows us if there’s any kind of problem with the tire’s trueness (runout). The operator can spot it right away and he simply rejects the tire. It seldom happens.

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Whatever the process, it works.  I replaced my first set of Diamondbacks at 5 years and 35,000 miles.  Although the basic tire was breaking down internally, the whitewalls were still pristine.  The whitewalls and black rubber is absolutely smooth unlike Cokers where black is ground off over the white to make different widths leaving grind marks.  At 5 years all of the Cokers I have had the white is yellowed and checked.  And on the last set (4) of Cokers that were supposed to be 3 inch wall the variation was 2.5 to 3.5 inch...If you do order Cokers use Summit Racing (tax and shipping free and easy 'adjustment').

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… O.k. but regarding Diamonds, would not the vulcanizing process render a side wall profile much like a "Decal Whitewall" or tire pasty …. ?  overlapping onto the original contour surface of the tire …. where tires that originally have the white wall molded as such usually have an integrated raised circumferential profile rim that serves as a molded guard along the outer edge of the white wall ... or do Diamonds include that as well into their vulcanized layover …  and is it true that all Coker tires you get have grinding marks on the sidewalls …. ?  just asking - uncle dave

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Whether white walls are 100% correct or not, Diamond Back tires in the end are DOT certified and Coker tires are not. That's enough for me. 

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20 minutes ago, Beemon said:

Whether white walls are 100% correct or not, Diamond Back tires in the end are DOT certified and Coker tires are not. That's enough for me. 

 

 From what I see Cokers have DOT markings.  

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Article from Hemmings written by a Coker representative:

 

https://www.hemmings.com/hmw/bias-ply-or-radial-tires.html

 

According to this article,  Coker is on the up and up with construction, recognition of DOT and  it does not appear they grind the tires to expose white walls.  

 

Quote

Another method that we'd classify as the "wrong way" to build a specialty tire is a whitewall that is permanently added to a generic blackwall radial tire. The whitewall application process involves grinding the sidewalls of an existing tire (like you'd find at the local tire store), and vulcanizing white rubber to the sidewall. Not only is the manufacturer taking material off the sidewall, but they are also removing the DOT numbers and other important information that is required by law.

 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)

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